What Kind of Car Insurance Do You Need?

Discover the various situations that car insurance may cover.

Having auto insurance isn’t simply a responsible thing to do—or an important way to protect yourself and your vehicle from potential harm. It’s the law. All states require either insurance coverage or proof of financial responsibility.

Auto policies can cover a variety of situations, such as damage to a vehicle, injury liability, rental-car reimbursement (if your vehicle cannot be driven), towing and labor services—even loss of income if an accident forces you out of work.

Here’s a rundown of coverages recommended by insurance experts. Many of them are required by individual state laws:

  • Bodily Injury Liability.  Covers injuries to others that you—the driver—may cause. Say you’re sued by the other driver or their family. The damages could be considerable. If you have assets, such as a home or savings account, that could be jeopardized by a lawsuit, consider buying more than the state-required minimum coverage.
  • Personal Injury Protection. Coverage may include medical payments, lost wages and funeral expenses for the driver and passengers of the policyholder’s car.
  • Property Damage Liability. Pays for damage that you cause to another’s property—a vehicle, building, utility pole, fence or other structure.
  • Collision Coverage. Covers damage to your vehicle while it’s in motion—if it collides with another, flips over or is damaged by a pothole, for example.
  • Comprehensive Coverage. Most states don’t require “comp,” but you may want to consider it, since it covers vehicle loss or damage while the vehicle isn’t moving—due to theft, fire, falling objects, earthquakes, windstorms, hail, flooding, vandalism or accidents with animals, for example.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage. May cover your damages if you’re involved in an accident with someone who is responsible for the accident who is without insurance—or enough insurance to pay for your losses.

Concerned about the cost of insurance? Nationwide® offers discounts for bundling your auto, home and life policies, plus insuring multiple vehicles, having a safe driving record and other factors.

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